Ten thousand years of superstition, religion, and science finally created the ultimate generation of humankind. Five full years passed before the media dared report on the subject. In the halls of universities, the scientists, sociologists, and statisticians only dared to whisper. By fear and unspoken agreement, they held their silence with almost monastic devotion.
David presses his stubby nose against the passenger window, fascinated, like a dog, by the passing trees. He turns to look at me. Snot runs around his upper lip, into the corner of his mouth.
“You’re disgusting,” I say.
Apples skittered across the kitchen floor and more were still dropping. From the ceiling it looked like. They were beautiful Golden Delicious apples. Only one could fit in Ash’s palm, and they were tinged with a blush of pink. There were no worm holes or bruises visible although they had hit the floor with enough velocity. Thunk, thunk, thunk.
THE LEAVES WERE CHANGING COLORS—or as Pinky liked to put it—losing their old selves. We were in the middle of autumn, 1971. In country. We were floundering. We were messed up. But we were gifted. We could change. We wanted to believe that we could believe. Our heads were full of other voices that said “We will die soon. Can you carry on?”
Somewhere between Carrbridge and Aviemore, forty minutes into an eight-hour journey, the train stopped again. Jane looked out of the carriage at the rocky, heather-sprigged landscape. Conifers stood in clumps, like bristles on a balding toothbrush. The snow-capped Cairngorms loomed on the cloudy horizon.
Glas could see his breath on the air as he exhaled. It was among the shortest, darkest days of the year, and the cold was constant. The skin on his fingers was tight and itchy with chilblains.
Abajee Mont talked on at the head of the class, the red robes of his priesthood dragging on the wooden floor.